Whether its a dog or a dove, treat animals with love.

Traveling with Your Dog

Let’s say that every summer, you take a long road trip with your family. Normally you’d find a pet sitter or bring your dog to a kennel, but this year you’ve decided to bring him. After all, he’s a part of the family and you want him to be able to experience new things, too. How do you prepare your pet for a road trip? We’ve got some tips and tricks to keep you and your pet safe, happy, and healthy for your summer adventures.

Take your dog for a test drive. If your dog isn’t used to riding in the car, then it’s probably a good idea to take him for a few test rides before you pop him in the car for a weeklong cross-country adventure. Consider bringing him when you go to get gas, or when you’re dropping your kids off at friend’s houses for play dates. If they play sports and it’s at a pet-friendly area, bring your dog along. Even bringing him to the local dog park gets him used to the task of riding in the car.

Bring the right foods and medications. You don’t want to be 4 hours away from home when suddenly you realize you forgot Fido’s specialty food, or his medications are sitting on the counter. You’re outside your everyday travel zone, and you don’t even know where you can find his meds or food. Make sure you pack all of your dogs food and meds with yours; this way, nothing is forgotten or separated mistakenly.

Bring the right accessories. You might be trying a few new things that your dog isn’t used to, so you’ll want to invest in the right equipment. If you’re camping and you’ll be swimming, get a dog life vest, or even shoes to protect his feet on rough ground.

Take your dog for a checkup beforehand. As a precautionary measure, visit the vet to make sure your pup is in top condition for a road trip.

Make sure you’re staying a pet-friendly accommodations. There’s nothing worse than showing up at a hotel and finding out they aren’t pet-friendly anymore. Call ahead and use trusted search sites for this information.

Choose the right activities and destinations. If your dog is older or just isn’t used to being outdoors, then he might not be a great hiking companion. Take serious stock of his capabilities, and choose what you reasonably know he can do.

Bring all his favorite toys and comfort items. Your dog will be far away from his territory, so it’s important that he can make his own space where he feels safe. Bring his favorite smelly blanket, chewed up toy, and comfiest bed.

Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with tags at all times. If your dog runs away or someone questions you about him, then having a collar with tags will be very important.

Map out and plan pit stops. Plan ahead for all pit stops. Make sure you can walk your dog for a while so he can stretch, drink some water, play, and go to the bathroom. You’ll probably enjoy it, too!

Have Fun! Enjoy the bonding time with your family and your dog; this is an experience you both deserve!

Your Indoor Cat

How often do you hear from a fellow pet parent who feels “so guilty” when their cat sits on the window sill staring outside? They worry their cat is bored, is becoming destructive because they don’t want to be in the house anymore, or even that being inside is negatively affecting their cat’s health. They let the cat on the porch to explore a bit, and one night the cat gets out by mistake. He comes back right away, and soon this one-time thing becomes a habit. But, is this really okay for your cat? Is it actually important for your cat to go outside occasionally, or is this a myth?

Let’s take a look at some of the myths floating around about the indoor-versus-outdoor cat dilemma, and what’s best for your feline companion.

I’m worried my indoor cat gets bored.

This isn’t untrue. Your indoor cat probably does get bored from time to time. That doesn’t mean you need to be letting him outside, though. Instead, make your home more interesting. Set up perches and cat forts throughout the house for him to play in; buy him new toys; and leave the blinds open so he can see outside while you’re not home. If your home is interesting, then he won’t want to leave.

My indoor cat is overweight.

Animals sometimes become overweight, but this is easily controllable. This can be managed with a combination of portion control, daily exercise, and play time. Try not to feed your cat wet food if you can help it, and cut back on the treats. Try incorporating toys into his routine that will encourage him to run around the house. Perches, tunnels, and scratching posts pay homage to your cat’s internal instincts while also exercising him mentally, emotionally, and physically.

My indoor cat is destructive.

If your cat has become destructive, then there’s probably something else going on. Is your cat bored, or possibly even sick? Set up scratching posts throughout the house, and try planting catnip and other cat-friendly plants around the house for him to gnaw on; they’re non-toxic and good for his teeth. If you take steps to curb the behavior and it continues, then call your vet and arrange an appointment to see what else may be going on.

My cat has always been allowed outside, so I can’t just make him indoor-only.

Just because you’ve been doing it doesn’t mean you should. Plenty of cats transition from indoor to outdoor, and then indoor again. The key, again, is to make your home as interesting as the outdoors.

My cat is safe when he goes outside because he stays close to my home.

Your cat might not wander far, but a lot can happen in that small radius of your home. While cats like to stick within their designated territory, they sometimes wander and can’t find their way home; they are attacked by a larger predator; or are even picked up by a concerned stranger. Make sure you microchip your cat, and don’t let him out if you cant help it.

Sometimes I need to let my cat outside because I’m allergic to him.

If you suspect you’re allergic to your cat, then you need to be tested. If you’re not allergic and you’re letting him outside, then there’s an outside allergen that’s affecting your sinuses. To make matters worse, you could even be exposing your cat to allergens which could cause a reaction in him.  Get tested, and avoid letting your cat out.


Pet Preparedness

Hurricane Season 2018 began just about 2 weeks ago. We’ve already seen sub-tropical storm Alberto, and predictors are calling for another active season. You probably already have a plan in place for you and your family. But, have you thought about your pets? Do you know what you’re going to do with them as your plans change and evolve with the weather?

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind for your pets throughout hurricane season.

Make a plan. Whether you’re evacuating or staying home, make a plan. Have plenty of supplies on hand for both you and your pet, and be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Think about this plan as though you might never need it, but if you do it’s best to have it.

Stick to your plan. Once you’ve made your plan, you need to stick to it. Otherwise, you risk putting your pet in danger. if you’ve made the decision to evacuate, then do so as soon as it’s ordered. You don’t want to sit by and wait till the last minute, changing your plan multiple times and risking accidents or someone getting hurt.

Prepare a kit. Your pet’s hurricane kit should be the exact same as yours. There should be up to a week’s worth of food and water, plus any medicines they take regularly, and any others that might be necessary in case of an emergency. Remember that the power is probably going to be out for an extended period of time, and resources might be limited for a while.

Staying in. While the storm is making landfall, you’ll be forced to stay inside and take cover in the safest place in your home. During this time, make sure your pet is in a pet crate. You don’t want to be forced into an emergency evacuation where you need to leave your home quickly, but you can’t find your pet because they’re hiding.

Going out. Listen to any and all emergency broadcasts throughout the storm’s duration. They will let you know when it is safe to leave your home after the storm has passed. Take your pet out only when you have permission, and only on a leash. It’s likely there will be damage and debris, and you don’t want to risk your pet being injured because they’ve run off in excitement.

Stay calm. If you’re panicking, then your pet is panicking. Stay calm, and your pet will, too.


Pet Allergies

If you’ve been sneezing more often than not lately, then Happy Allergy Season. You may have also noticed that your pet is a bit more itchy than normal, too. That’s right, pets experience allergies in many of the same ways that we do. The only difference? They can’t tell you their symptoms. You just have to monitor them closely and try to understand what you can do to help them. If you notice your dog or cat acting differently this time of year, then learn to recognize the signs of allergies and how to try and treat them.


A dog or cat with a flea allergy can be affected by just one bite. Typical symptoms of the allergy are intense itching or scratching for days or even up to a week, resulting in rashes, loss of patches of fur, and even scabbing and bleeding. Remember that your pet doesn’t understand cause and effect like you do, so they can’t “just stop scratching” when they begin to bleed from itching too much; to them, they’re making it better. Talk to your vet about an antihistamine or a medicated shampoo to help soothe the itching. Consider inquiring about a new flea medication that might work better for your pet’s needs.


Pets can have food allergies just like people can. Beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb and soy are the most common food allergens in dogs, while common culprits in cats include beef, dairy and fish. Your pet could suffer from gastrointestinal or dermatological problems because of a food allergy. Because traditional blood testing is unreliable, you’ll need to try process of elimination with your pet. Eliminate the food and then reintroduce each one slowly, determining which one affects your pet negatively. Once you’ve figured it out, completely eliminate any foods which contain those ingredients from your pet’s diet.


Common irritants for your pets include dust mites, mold, mildew, and pollens from grass, trees and weeds. Pollens cause seasonal allergies, while other environmental allergens are problematic year-round. For these types of allergies, similar to you, your pet will need a reliable antihistamine they can take whenever their allergies flare up. It also helps to avoid exposure to whatever they’re allergic to. If your cat is allergic to dust or pollen, then keep your house as clean as you’re able, and try to keep them inside when trees or flowers are in bloom. Your cat may not be happy about it, but their immune system and sinuses will thank you for it in the long run.

Your Special Needs Dog

There are certain dogs, just like humans, who need extra care. When you decide to adopt a dog with special needs, it’s important to understand exactly what those needs will be, and what steps you need to take to be able to care for them. Your dog will need extra time, effort, and could possibly need more financial support. Before you make your decision, make sure you understand your dog and take these extra steps in his care.

Go to the vet regularly. Your dog needs special care, and your vet is an amazing resource for this care. If your dog requires equipment, then your dog’s doctor can get you in touch with the right avenues. They can also help you administer the right medications on a daily basis if your dog has those needs.

Make sure your home is ready for your special needs dog. Take a walk through your home to check for any obstacles for your dog. If your dog is blind or needs assistance moving around, it’s a good idea to block any dangerous stairwells where they could fall or get stuck. It’s also important to make sure you don’t rearrange your home; make sure the space remains as familiar as possible for Fido so that he stays safe and happy in your home.

Check your dog daily for injuries or other sores. Particularly if your dog is paralyzed, he may not be able to feel if he is injured. Check him at least once a day for any injuries or sores that could easily become infected or cause other problems for your dog. If you do discover anything, take him to the vet as soon as you’re able to get it taken care of.

Assist your dog when needed. A special needs dog will need guidance. He may become stuck in corners because of an injury, blindness, or the equipment he uses to get around. This also includes helping him find his food, and also helping him move around yourself if he has mobility issues. Look into adaptive devices if this is the case.

Don’t change your dog’s surroundings. Special needs dogs need consistency. This is especially important when it comes to his surroundings. A blind dog or a dog who needs assistive equipment moving around needs a home that doesn’t change. He needs a familiar walkway so he can play in his home without the fear of becoming trapped or even lost.

Use diapers when necessary. Especially as dogs age, they unfortunately can become ill and their needs become more prominent. If Fido is losing control of his bladder, consider buying dog-friendly diapers to assist him while you’re not home. If you’re able, try going home during lunch breaks and ask your boss if you can bring your dog to work on days when you don’t have clients visiting. This will relieve a lot of stress, and your dog will enjoy being with you.

Give your dog as normal a life as possible. Just as with people, dogs don’t enjoy being treated differently than other dogs. They want to play, go on walks, and travel with you. Exercise him, bring him on vacations when you can, and make sure to play. Your special needs dog will bring excitement, happiness, and love to your life.

Bath Time for Your Cat – The Basics

Cats make great pets. They’re independent, don’t require constant care, and are very loving. But, just because your cat appears to be the polar opposite of a dog (in personality and species) doesn’t mean they don’t require a bath every now and again. Not only is this an opportunity to bond with your feline friend, but it also keeps them happier and healthier.

Start slow.

If you’ve been a cat owner for awhile, then you know it’s not a good idea to scoop him up and just start brushing him one day. Cats need careful, slow introduction to anything new. This includes toys, new environments, and especially grooming.

Slowly get him used to being rubbed and touched by the brush. Let him investigate the tool and become comfortable with it. After a while you can begin to groom him regularly.

Brushing your cat.

Regular brushing helps get rid of dirt and dead hair, along with clearing matted hair and tangles. Always brush your cat’s fur in the same direction that it naturally grows. If you try going any other direction, his fur could become tangled and messy. For short-haired cats, brushing twice a week is plenty. For his long-haired counterpart, you may need to brush once a day.

Bath time.

Bathing your cat probably seems like a terrible idea. Cats don’t even like water, right? How in the world are you supposed to convince him to be patient enough for a bath?

As with the brushing, it’s important to introduce bathing slowly to your cat. Start with a shallow tub filled to about 3 to 4 inches of water and padded with a plastic pad. Introduce him slowly to the water, and only use shampoo that is specifically made for cats. If, even after a slow intro, your cat just won’t get in the tub, try a dry shampoo for the time being and then bring him to a professional groomer.

Taking care of their claws.

Most people opt not to get their cats declawed, which is a good thing. The Humane Society is strongly against the practice, and in many countries around the world it’s actually illegal. If your cat scratches, try getting a scratching post. You can entice him to use it by putting cat litter and other treats in it. This will help him develop the habit of scratching the post rather than your furniture. If he still has issues with clawing and he is injuring you, then start trimming his nails. This doesn’t hurt the cat, but it can take him awhile to get used to it.

What Does it Mean to Declaw Your Cat?

It’s common to assume that when your cat is declawed, it’s a quick and simple fix. No more using your favorite couch as a scratching post; no more going out looking like you were attacked by a miniature version of Freddie Krueger; and your rolls of toilet paper are finally safe. It feels like a relief.

But, did you know that many countries around the world have banned declawing? The Humane Society of the United States is strictly against declawing cats unless it’s medically necessary.

Most people think that declawing is as simple as clipping the cat’s nails. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe in order to remove the cat’s claws. If this procedure were to be performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.

There are a host of medical drawbacks to declawing. These include pain in the paw, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness, and back pain. Removing claws changes the way a cat’s foot meets the ground. It can cause pain comparable to wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. There can also be a regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage, and bone spurs.

Shredded newspaper is typically used in the litter box in the days after surgery to prevent the litter from irritating declawed feet. This is an unfamiliar litter substitute, and when accompanied by pain when scratching in the box, may lead cats to stop using the litter box. It’s possible for cats to become biters because they no longer have their claws for defense.

There are plenty of ways to prevent scratching, which is the main reason for declawing. Try trimming their claws to keep them at a manageable length; keep a scratching post and plenty of toys around your house; or try tapes or attachments to your furniture to prevent your cat from clawing.

Declawing is an unnecessary surgery which in the end provides no medical benefit to your cat. Educated pet parents can take steps to train their cats to use their claws in a manner that allows everyone in the household to live together happily. Essentially, this surgery should only be used as a last resort to help cure serious illness in your cat. Keep your cat healthy and happy by allowing him to keep his claws.

Keep Your Indoor Cat Happy and Healthy

Cats are independent pets to keep at home, which is why many people choose to adopt them. It’s important to keep your home your home in a way that satisfies their natural instincts, encourages them to exercise, and is comfortable for their regular rest throughout the day.

Keep your porch safe. If your cat can’t resist going outside occasionally, make sure the enclosed porch is safe for them. Give them a few toys to chase, make sure the screen is reinforced, and make sure not to keep any poisonous plants. Wheat grass and catnip are both great plants to keep, and they’ll enjoy chewing on it.

Try walking your cat. If your cat has a patient disposition, try getting him on a harness and bringing him for walks. Be sure there are no dogs out when you are, and remember that cats like to wander. It’s fun to let them lead the way; you may discover somewhere new to explore with him in charge.

Keep fresh food and water. Cats can be very picky. Make sure there is always fresh food and water out for them. if you have a dog that likes to eat your cat’s food, then buy a perch for your cat and keep his food there.

Give them toys. Cats need to be able to stalk and keep interested in their surroundings. If they’re bored, they’ll quickly become destructive. Buy him plenty of toys to keep his mind and body occupied throughout the day while you’re away. Train your cat to use a scratching post rather than the back of your couch. Catnip is a great training tool for this.

Keep their litter clean. If your cat’s litter isn’t clean, then he will start using your brand new rug for his toilet. The safe rule of thumb is generally one extra litter box for every cat. Make sure to at least check the litter every day, even if it doesn’t need to be cleaned. Your furniture and your sanity will thank you in the long run.

Bring the outside in. Bring a few small plants in for him to play with and chew on, such as wheat grass or catnip. You can also buy a cat castle or perch for him to sit on. Cats love to climb, and if you want to prevent him from climbing on your bookshelf and becoming destructive because of boredom, then it’s helpful to either buy or build a safe space for him to play in.

Cats are independent but loving pets. They need mental and physical stimulation, just like dogs. Use some of these tips to keep your cat healthy and happy while you’re away from the house during the day.

Summertime Fun with Your Dog

Summertime in Florida is the best time of the year. There are less people, almost no traffic, and the sun is shining. But there are important factors you need to keep in mind, especially if you’re thinking of bringing your dog along. The top 3 factors you need to keep in mind are sunshine, heat, and weather changes. So, when you decide to take your dog along for your summertime adventure, make sure you’re properly prepared.

Always have plenty of water. Even if you’re headed somewhere that’s “dog friendly,” make sure you bring water and a bowl for your pup. Some dogs won’t drink from a public source, and others are too submissive to bother trying. The water can also be used on the bottom of their sensitive paws if they have to walk across a hot surface, or if they need some help cooling down.

Never leave your dog unattended. Did you know that on a summer day in Florida, the inside of your car can reach temperatures between 130 and 172 degrees? This is beyond safe for a dog, and could easily kill him within just an hour, causing heat stroke in even less time.

Avoid extreme heat if you can. Extreme heat is a killer for humans, and it’s the same for our four-legged friends. A safe rule of thumb to go by is that if it’s hotter than 85, don’t bring the dog along. Even if the place you’re going is inside, your pup could burn his sensitive paws on the hot asphalt on the way in and out. When you do take your dog for his morning and evening walks, consider going at twilight and sunset. The sun will be less intense and it’ll be more comfortable for both of you.

When bad weather is on the way, keep your dog calm and safe. Florida is the lightning capital of the United States. On top of that, thunderstorms are an everyday occurrence during summertime in Florida. There are many dogs that are not only uncomfortable with rain and storms, but they are terrified. It’s helpful to give them a safe place in the house to hide if they become scared, or even something they can wear like a Thundershirt. Some owners even give their dogs anti-anxiety medications if they know bad weather is on the way.

Summertime is everyone’s favorite season. When you’re thinking of including Fido in your plans, make sure you’re properly prepared.

Have Fun and Be Safe at the Beach

Living in Southwest Florida means you’re close to the beach. And if you have a dog, you will want to bring him along to enjoy the sun and sand. When considering this adventure, make sure that both you and your four-legged friend are well prepared for the trip.

Bring plenty of water.

Your dog needs to stay hydrated, just like you. Bring a big cooler filled with ice and water along with a bowl for him to drink out of. The last thing you want is to see him drinking salt water, which can case diarrhea and vomiting. You can also use the bottled water to clean any sand off your pup’s face so he doesn’t try to use his messy paws to accidentally rub more sand into his sensitive eyes and ears.

Provide shade for your pup.

You wouldn’t want to sit in the hot sun wearing a fur coat all day, and your dog doesn’t either. Despite the cool water to play in, he can still get easily overheated. Bring a small shade tent or umbrella to take plenty of water breaks, or even a nice nap.

Know your dog’s comfort with the water.

Even dogs with webbing between their toes can be afraid of the water! If your dog has never been to the beach or has never been swimming, then it may be a good idea to buy a life jacket for him. You can buy these at most pet stores, or even online. Encourage him to test the water when you get to the beach, and then you can see whether he will need the life jacket.

Bring plenty of bags for poop.

There is nothing worse than trying to build a sand castle and finding an unpleasant surprise buried. Dogs can’t clean up after themselves, so it’s important for dog owners to be responsible and clean up after their furry friends. Make sure to bring plenty of bags, and if you see an owner who can’t find their poop bags or forgot, help them out. You’ll make a friend for next time!

Know the leash rules.

Some dog beaches don’t require a leash, but others require that dogs be on leashes of a certain length at all times. Do your research before heading to the beach, especially if there are no leash rules.

Watch for hidden dangers in the water.

Most people would assume this means sharks. Generally, though, you want to keep your dog away from mangrove beds, piers, or even sandbars. These can be breeding grounds for oysters, barnacles, and other sharp shells and creatures that can cut your pup’s feet and even cause serious infection. Scan the layout of the beach and make sure you keep an eye on where your dog goes when you let him off leash.

Give your pup a thorough bath afterward.

Wash your dog with cool, fresh water and gentle soap, and make sure to clean every crevice. Any leftover salt or sand that can irritate your skin can easily irritate his, too.